I love SeatGuru. I use it whenever I’m planning a trip where air travel’s involved. And, especially when I’m looking at long-haul, international flights. Because, when you’re sitting on a plane for 5, 10 or even 15 hours straight, seat comfort really matters.
So, how can SeatGuru help make your air travel more tolerable? By letting you look at aircraft specific seat maps, as well as providing details on seat amenities and passenger photos and reviews. It’s the closest thing to actually walking on board your upcoming trip’s aircraft and scoping out the layout and seat comfort before making your seat selection.
How I Use SeatGuru
Let’s say I want to fly to Frankfurt, Germany from Chicago using United Airlines miles.
I search United’s site for saver, economy class availability and find three options for this example. Normally I’d opt for a nonstop flight, but I want to show how one route can have multiple, unique aircraft flying and how SeatGuru can help you pick the best one.
The first option has the overwater portion of the trip being flown by Lufthansa on an Airbus A340-600.
The second option is on a United Boeing 767-300 for the long portion of the trip.
And the final option is flown by United on a Boeing 777-200.
As you can see, all three of these trips are roughly the same length of time from departure to arrival in Frankfurt, so let’s see which aircraft will provide the most comfort for the roughly 8.5 hour portion of the trip.
I enter the airline name, flight number and date of travel into the appropriate boxes and click the Find Seat Map button.
I get a confirmation screen of the route, flight number, aircraft, etc. It looks correct, so I click the View Map button.
Because some airlines configure the same type of aircraft differently, you may have to select which version of the plane you’re flying. Finding this information can be difficult, so just going with your gut is, usually, your best option when faced with multiple versions.
I select V1 (Version 1) of the Airbus A340-600.
The next screen shows the aircraft layout, with seating details, traveler photos, in-flight amenities associated with this aircraft as well as a brief overview.
Further down the page you have the remainder of the economy class layout, as well as a box for user reviews of the seats they flew in and a key to the seat map.
Immediately I look for the green shaded seats to find the “good” seats for this aircraft. Then I look at the yellow to read the “be aware” comments for those particular seats. And finally I note the red seats and ensure I stay away from those.
Moving the cursor over an individual seat will bring up specifics related to that seat. Unless it’s a green, yellow or red seat, it won’t provide much detail, though.
Then I scan the user reviews to look for any other helpful tidbits.
Overall, the pitch of 31 inches (the amount of space from the back of the seat in front to the back of your seat) and seat width, 17.3 inches, in economy are fairly standard. Which means tight for a flight this long.
But the 2-4-2 configuration is nice if you can get one of the 2 seats on the sides…especially if you’re traveling with someone.
Let’s look at the United options.
The United 767-300 is a smaller plane, with a 2-3-2 configuration. Its economy seat pitch of 31 inches and width of 18 is pretty close to Lufthansa’s A340.
With no red seats, I take a quick look at user reviews to get a better “feel” of the plane.
As with any site offering user reviews, you’ll get conflicting takes on the same product. Just need to weed through them and get the overall perspective.
And now United’s 777-200.
The first thing that jumps out to me is the 3-3-3 configuration of the 777. It’s a bigger plane and will feel slightly more cramped.
Economy seats have the same pitch – 31 inches – and width – 18 inches – as United’s 767.
With few red marked seats, I move on to the user comments.
You really can learn some interesting information from these comments.
And the passenger submitted photos give you a feel for the plane’s interior before you ever set foot inside.
So, which plane would I select for this trip?
I would likely choose the Lufthansa A340.
In my experience, Airbus aircraft have a nicer feel to their interiors, and I like the 2-3-2 configuration. All three aircraft have in-seat entertainment screens, so that’s a push, but the 767 is an older aircraft, that likely will show more wear than the A340.
And, while this can’t be deciphered from SeatGuru, in general, in-flight service on a foreign carrier is better than on a U.S. based carrier.
Obviously, SeatGuru can be used for any flight, whether it’s long-haul international, or a quick Chicago to Miami flight.
All you need is the airline, flight number and departure date to get the detailed aircraft overview. And with this information, you can make an informed decision on whether or not a particular flight’s right for you or where exactly you want to sit on a certain aircraft once your trip is booked.
SeatGuru provides other information and services, too. You can browse all of the aircraft a particular airline has in its fleet under the Browse Airlines tab. They also have a Flight Search feature for finding flights/pricing, as well as a Comparison Charts section where airline/aircraft details based on flight length and class of service can be compared in an easily viewed chart format.
The site also has a Guru Advice section that houses a wide variety of useful travel-related information.
As you can see, SeatGuru offers a plethora of useful information for anyone traveling by air.
Air travel’s stressful enough, so next time you’re booking a flight, take a few minutes to scan SeatGuru’s information to ensure you’re selecting options that will make your travels the most comfortable possible.
And, definitely consider helping the traveling community by posting your own aircraft photos and seat reviews on the SeatGuru site. I know I’ll appreciate the information, and I’m sure many other travelers will, as well.
What’s your favorite aspect of the SeatGuru site?